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Gravensteen (Castle of the Counts)

Listed under Castles & Palaces in Ghent, Belgium.

  • Photo of Gravensteen (Castle of the Counts)
  • Photo of Gravensteen (Castle of the Counts)
Photo of Gravensteen (Castle of the Counts)
Photo by flickr user uLe @ Dortmund
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As the sole surviving Castle of the Counts, built by the necessarily nomadic Counts of Flanders, this is a historically as well as architecturally interesting castle. The first stone structure on this site was constructed around 1000AD, but it is thought that up to three wooden structures would have stood here prior to that time. The version that you may tour today dates structurally from around 1180, having been modelled after the designs of the Crusader‘s Castles with a central tower, partial moat, and high walls inlaid with smaller rounded towers. Usually the counts destroyed their courts castles when they moved regions, but for some reason Gravensteen survived. It was extensively repaired during the 19th Century so there is some discussion about where it is authentic to it’s Middle Ages type, but it is popular with tourists and well kept.

Inside the castle is a maze of narrow corridors but much original furnishings remain so it is well worth exploring. At the top of the of the castle is a tower off which people were executed by hanging and nearby, inside the tower is a sobering museum of grizzly instruments of death and torture including a rack, spiked coffins and multiple uncomfortable looking torture apparatus which will fascinate your children but then give them nightmares.

Written by  Kynan Wieltz.

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